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It is plain, from what has been said, that our knowledge of the inward life of the Precious Blood during the Thirty-Three Years must be very superficial. Nevertheless, we must put it before ourselves as clearly as we can. Its first beginning was in the thrills of beatific joy. We shall see reasons afterward for carefully noting this. The beginning of the Human Life of Jesus was not gradual. It had no dawn. Its very union with the Divinity rendered this impossible. It broke out of nothingness into the blaze of conscious and blessed ecstasy. It saw God as not even Mary sees Him now. It saw Him, went out of sight of all creation toward comprehending Him, enjoyed Him as not all Heaven after the Doom will enjoy Him, and adored Him as no fabulous number of possible worlds could ever have adored him. This was the first pulse of the Precious Blood. The very first throb had in it an incalculable immensity of gladness. Out of its first moment all worlds might begladdened beyond their power of bearing gladness. Save the Uncreated Jubilee, the sweet Spirit of the Father and the Son, never
was there jubilee like that of the Precious Blood in its beginning. Yet from that hour the jubilee has never ceased; it has never lessened; it has never changed. Its pulses are not tides. They imply no vicissitudes. They betoken only an equable impetuosity of immutable delight. The gladness which flashed like lightning out of the eyes of the Infant into the heart of Mary was unabated when the same eyes drooped languidly toward her upon Calvary. The blessedness which broke forth like a creation of light in the glory of the Resurrection had never left the Sacred Heart even during the Way of the Cross. But, with the Beatific Joy, the Precious Blood had all other joys as well. That Human Life was a joy in itself, a joy in its Divine union, independently of its vision of God. It was a joy in the love and possession of so sweet a Mother. It was a joy in the unearthly tranquility of Joseph's deep, loving, adoring heart. It was a joy in the jubilee of the worshipping Angels. It was a joy in the very bitterness of its redeeming woes, and it was a joy in the intensity of its own loves of God
and men.
But it was a life also of colossal sorrows, even though they abated not the joy. Never did blood of man throb with such excesses of anguish as the Precious Blood of our most dear Redeemer. Its sorrows were lifelong. Their excesses exceeded all the tortures of the Martyrs. There was never a moment which was not occupied with sorrow. The jubilee never commingled with the woe, nor tempered it, nor compensated for it. Nay, rather, all joys intensified the sorrows. Joy, surely, is in itself a diviner thing than sorrow; for there can be no sorrow in the Ever-blessed. But sorrow was more human; and therefore it was chosen as the instrument of man's redemption; and thus to us it becomes more Divine, because it brings God to us and raises us up to God. Thus sorrow was more natural to the Precious Blood. It was a life more congenial to its nature. Moreover, it was its official life. For by sorrow it was to accomplish its redeeming work. Its shedding was to be not only the consummation of our Lord's suffering, but the chosen suffering, in which precisely the work of redemption was to lie. Jesus-thrice blessed be His most dear Name! - is all our own, neither can we spare any thing of Him. Yet it was not precisely His Soul which was to redeem us, nor the Passion of His Body which was to be exactly our expiation. It was the shedding of His Blood which was to cleanse us from our sins. The remedy of the Fall was precisely in the Saviour's Blood. All the sorrows of His life grew up to the shedding of His Blood, and were crowned by it; and His shedding the last few drops of it after He was dead was significant of the work it had to do. The Soul, and the Body, and the Blood lay separate; and the sacrifice was thus complete.

The life of the Precious Blood was also a life of great secrecy. This is the invariable characteristic of all Divine things. The more they have been the objects of God's eternal complacency in His ever-blessed Mind, the more instinctively do they affect secrecy. God is a God Who hides Himself, and Who even manifests Himself by means of new concealments. All holiness has the same love of secrecy imprinted on it as the seal of God. We should have imagined that the gladness of the Precious Blood would have made it prone to manifest itself, and to be forever manifesting itself out of its exuberant love of souls. We might have supposed that its intense desire to shed itself would have given it a character of publicity. Yet, as God is so secret that St. Austin ventured to name Him "the most secret Being," and at the same time is also unspeakably communicative, so is it with the Precious Blood. It hid itself all through the Thirty-Three Years, and it hid itself most effectually at the moment it was being shed. It hid itself on the roots of the olive-trees of Gethsemane, only making the brown wood a little ruddier. It sank into the thirsty ground of Calvary. It hastened to mingle with the street-dust of Jerusalem. It clung to the soles of men's shoes, so that they might not notice it. In like manner it works behind a veil at this hour. It works in Sacraments, in invisible communications of grace, in viewless contacts of Divine things with the soul. It is only when God opens the eyes of favored souls that it is seen working as truly the Blood of Jesus. Such a favored soul was Frances of the Mother of God, Carmelitess of Dieppe. When she held her chapters of faults, and the nuns accused themselves of their short-comings of observance,
she saw Jesus by her side, touching those who accused themselves with simplicity and frankness with a drop of His Blood, and leaving untouched those who accused themselves unsimply and without any interior self-condemnation. On Palm Sunday, during a jubilee, she saw our Lord apply to the souls of the nuns at Communion the grace of the jubilee by means of His Blood; and he said to her, "To persons in the world I give my Blood by drops, but here I give it in profusion." One year, on the feast of the Circumcision, our Lord showed Himself to her lying in the manger, bathed in blood and the blood dropping from Him into a vessel. Her soul became "deliciously occupied" with the dignity and price of that adorable Blood, and she cried out, in a transport of rapture, "Ah, my Lord! that was enough to redeem the world, without so much suffering." He then vouchsafed to reveal to her that He had offered the Blood of the Circumcision to the
Father for two objects especially. The first was to satisfy for the sins which had been committed since creation and before the Incarnation; and the second was to obtain for souls the grace of making a right use of His mysteries. Thus it has been in numberless revelations, that, when the realities of grace have been shown to favored souls, they have been shown as actual contacts of the Precious Blood, just as supernatural favors at Communion have so often taken the form of filling the mouths of the Saints with blood, which had a sweetness beyond all known earthly tastes; and the way in which it veils its operations is but a continuance of the secrecy of the Three-and-Thirty Years.

The life of the Precious Blood on earth was also, and eminently, a life of love, or, as we may rather call it, a life of many loves. It was such a human love of God as immeasurably surpassed the collective love of Mary, Angels, and men. It was a joyous and yet a reverential love of Mary, such as far outdid all the united devotion and enthusiastic affection of the Angels and the Saints for their mother and their queen. It was such a love of men, and particularly of men's souls, as the hearts of all mankind could not hold if it were divided among them and their hearts were enlarged to THE YOUNG VIRGINthe magnificent capacities of apostles' hearts. Souls were its attraction, its passion. Its genius fastened upon them as its portion and its prey. Its choice, its work, its food, its rest, its joy - all were in human souls. The thought of it had won grace for souls before it was actually created. The figures of it cleansed souls. The shedding of it was the life of souls. It became almost omnipresent, that it might embrace all souls. It cast itself into Sacraments, that it might reach souls by a quicker road, in more diversified ways, with a more infallible operation, and with a more abundant success. Then, as if discontented even with the magnificence of the Sacraments, it threw itself into Indulgences and Jubilees. It made men after its own likeness, and called them Apostles. An apostolic call is a vocation of the Precious Blood. The mild judgments of moral theology are but the casuistry of the Precious Blood. Who can think unmoved of the tenderness and of the impetuosity of this soul-loving Blood? All sweet, eloquent patience in the Confessional is only the impassioned self-control of the Precious Blood. All true, simple, evangelical preaching is only the uplifted voice of the Precious Blood. Let me tell you again that old story of the Blessed Angela of Foligno. She saw our Lord in vision embracing some Franciscan Friars, and pressing them with a yearning fondness to His wounded side.

He pressed them so closely to Him that their lips were tinged with His Blood, some slightly, some very much; and some had their mouths all ruddy with it, so tightly had He pressed them against the wound. He told her that these were His preachers, and that the word of the Gospel only went with power to the soul when it passed over lips that were stained with His Precious Blood. Ah, we poor preachers! we have need to hang our heads at this tale; and yet it is one full of good cheer to our humility, if only our humility be generous and brave.

Finally, the life of the Precious Blood on earth was a life of incomparable sanctity. It was made up of the most gigantic operations of grace. We cannot approach to them even in thought. Let it suffice to say that they were multitudinous and manifold all day, and that sleep by night never interrupted them; and yet that the least of them transcended in spiritual beauty and dignity the gorgeous mystery of the Immaculate Conception. It was a life made lip also of interior dispositions of such vast heroism, of such fiery love, of such majestic intensity, of such delicate complications, as have no parallel in any other created holiness. What can we imagine of them, when it is sober to say of them that the least and most transient of them surpassed all the dispositions of Mary's Dolors? and, after the virtues of Jesus, are not those the most
colossal sanctities that were ever known on earth or ever crowned in Heaven? In all these operations of grace, in all these inward dispositions, in all the glorious heroisms of the Sacred Humanity, the Precious Blood was ever ministering, with most special intention, to those two kindred Attributes of God, His Dominion and His Magnificence. Did I not speak truly when I said that the Three-and-Thirty Years were an epoch of secular duration, a kind of eternity of time?


--------------CHRIST THE KING